The long-running dispute involving the security staff at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading has been settled, Unite the union said today (Monday 25 April).

The 20 guards first started taking industrial action in December 2020 against their outsourced employer Kingdom Services Group Ltd over inadequate pay rates.

The one-year pay deal from December 2021 represents a pay lift of 7.5 per cent, says the union. There will also be back pay to December 2021 worth about £400.

The three-year security guard contract is currently out for tender by the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust – although Unite has repeatedly urged the management to bring the security guards back in-house.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “It is appalling that our members have had to wait two years for a pay deal at a time of soaring living costs, but the security staff stood together, determined to secure a better deal, and they won.

“It is great that our members have won this victory, but it is not the end of the story. Unite will continue to press for this vital service to be brought in-house as the best option for all concerned.”

Unite lead officer for health in the south east Jesika Parmar said: “Our members first balloted for industrial action in February 2020, but then postponed action due to the onset of the Covid pandemic. I am delighted that their dogged determination has, at last, paid off.

“Our view remains that this contract should be brought back in-house as the best way to deliver this important service and the most efficient use of the NHS’ money.”

Unite is dedicated to advancing the jobs, pay and conditions of its members and will fight back against any efforts to diminish workers' living standards.


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

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Unite is the leading union in the UK and Ireland, dedicated to defending and improving members' jobs, pay and conditions. The general secretary is Sharon Graham.